Many asylum seekers in Leeds are destitute or homeless because of flaws in the benefits system according to researchers at the University of Leeds. The project, which was funded by ESRC, reveals that forced migrants in the city are often denied benefits and accommodation because of the time constraints imposed by section 55 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act (2002), which is currently under review.
"The system simply isnt working," says Dr Peter Dwyer, who led the research. "Successful asylum seekers often end up homeless because they are given only a short time to move from National Asylum Support (NASS) accommodation into mainstream social housing, which is in short supply."
The researchers found that the levels of social security benefits available to asylum seekers, currently worth 70% of income support, were set at levels that promote poverty and social exclusion. "Whats more, those who are denied asylum but are not sent home have no rights to welfare at all," says Peter Dwyer, "they simply disappear and the extent of destitution is hidden because of the clandestine nature of the problem. Individuals denied access to public support are increasingly having to rely on other migrants or charities."
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